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Old 12-10-2012, 01:56 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is online now
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Raising Medicare's age limit.

It's been reported multiple times now that an age limit increase is on the table in the fiscal cliff talks.

Obviously, this is not going to be terrifically popular, and in my opinion I don't even think it'd be particularly smart. Raising the Medicare age doesn't reduce healthcare costs, it just reduces government healthcare costs, keeping seniors on the expensive private plans we introduced Medicare to save them from. Healthcare is not improved in any way as a result of it, and any and all forms of Medicare reform should be aimed at making the system work better -- savings should be the target, not cuts. Lord know there are many ways this can be had, and has already been had.

That said, if you're going to raise it, Ezekiel Emanuel introduces a really great way to do it: graduated eligibility.

Medicare eligibility stays the same for folks in the lower third of lifetime income levels. Medicare eligibility rises two to three years for folks in the middle third of lifetime income levels. And Medicare eligibility rises four to six years for folks in the highest third.

People in the lower third need Medicare the most, and the wealthiest need it the least. People in the lower third live the least healthy lifestyles due to lack of resources and, of course, tougher work over their lifetimes. The wealthier live on average six years longer, and have enough of their own resources to afford private insurance another few years as opposed to everybody else.

Again, I'd rather us take other methods of enacting savings on Medicare, but if this is something we're going to do, let's do it in a responsible way that doesn't strand the least wealthy seniors in a disproportionately tough healthcare situation.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...ment-benefits/

Entitlement Reform For the Entitled
By EZEKIEL J. EMANUEL
May 20, 2012, 9:51 pm455 Comments

IF nothing is done about entitlement spending, and if our current tax breaks continue, then by 2025, tax revenue will be able to pay for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, interest on the debt and nothing else. The rest — defense, medical research, highways, education, energy — will have to be financed by deficits. Social Security’s funding is predicted to run short in 2033, Medicare’s trust fund in 2024.

Like much else in Washington, there is little bipartisan agreement on what to do about it. When it comes to Social Security and Medicare, Republicans emphasize cuts and privatization, while Democrats strongly oppose both approaches. Neither side was able to embrace the 2010 bipartisan Simpson-Bowles plan, which proposed lowering Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustments, increasing the taxable maximum income and raising the eligibility age to 69 by 2075.

But here is a better bipartisan reform: Graduated eligibility. Instead of having a fixed age at which people can get Social Security and Medicare, we should link the age of eligibility to lifetime wealth. The richer you are, the older you would have to be to be eligible for Social Security and Medicare.

Here’s how it would work. People in the bottom half of the lifetime earnings distribution would become eligible for normal retirement benefits at age 65 for Medicare and 66 for Social Security, just as they are today. But people in the next quarter of the lifetime earnings distribution would become eligible for the respective programs at 67 and 68, and those in the top quarter would become eligible at 70 and 71. All eligibility ages would increase over time, as they are scheduled to now.

In all income brackets, those choosing to retire later than the standard age would still receive higher Social Security benefits, called delayed-retirement credits. For those choosing to retire earlier and accept reduced benefits, on the other hand, nothing would change in the lower bracket, while the minimum age would increase in the two higher income brackets. And wealthier older people would have the choice of buying into Medicare at age 65, though they would have to pay for it before the age of 70.

Demographic changes since Social Security was first enacted are a good argument for raising the retirement age. In 1935, a man who reached the age of 65 was likely to live almost 13 more years (and a woman, almost 15). But today, Americans who reach 65 are likely to live nearly 19 more years.

But graduated eligibility also accounts for the fact that the rich live longer than the poor, and that the longevity gap is increasing. In 2007, the Social Security Administration did a study of mortality and income. Among 65-year-old men born in 1922, those with income in the top half lived an average of 2.2 years longer than those in the bottom half. But among 65-year-old men born in 1941, those with income in the top half were projected to live an average of 5.3 years longer. Thus, requiring wealthier Americans to wait five more years to claim Social Security and Medicare has the effect of giving an average rich and an average poor person nearly the same number of years of benefits.

This reform also combines several important values. The main reason Social Security and Medicare have such strong public support is that they are universal benefits; they are not just for the poor. With graduated eligibility, all Americans will still get benefits, regardless of income; the only thing that changes is when. And because the rich, on average, would live longer and get the same number of years of benefits as those in lower income brackets, the plan should appeal to those who still feel strongly that everyone should pay their fair share.

It also makes practical sense. Americans in the bottom half of the income distribution are more likely to have jobs in manual labor, which is more physically difficult for older people to perform. White-collar workers in the upper bracket don’t face the same physical demands. And their greater earnings mean they should be able to save more to support themselves longer.

Graduated eligibility should be based on lifetime earnings instead of any particular year’s income, which can be quite volatile. It would be administratively simple to determine each citizen’s lifetime earnings, because the Social Security Administration already has all this data. And this measure would have the benefit of encouraging personal responsibility; people making more than the median income would have an incentive to save. Anyone who earned a lot at one time but frittered it away would have to continue working longer.

Either in the lame duck Congressional session after the election or in 2013, there will surely be debate about a deal to address taxes and the deficit. Graduated eligibility should be on the table. It would not completely close the shortfall of the trust funds, but it would put Social Security and Medicare on a stronger financial footing, while reaffirming their universal nature and reflecting the fortunate fact that Americans are living longer.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:34 PM   #61
mlyonsd mlyonsd is offline
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post

So to answer mylonsd: yes, Republicans want to cut a program they've been paying into for years and years. They want to replace it with a premium support model.
I was responding to a post regarding eliminating it, not cutting. I think everyone understands changes are going to be required including cutting it.

And I don't see anything you've proposed that actually fixes it.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:41 PM   #62
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Based on what assumptions....thats nice to say but without some understanding of the assumptions it means zero.....what is true is there wont be enough workers paying in to keep it afloat. And at the current rate of people leaving the workforce with no hope of getting a jo, its even worse. The good news is the retirees are not retiring at the rate that was expected or projected as a result of this horrible economy and the crushing blow they took on net worth in homes.
Its not that complicated. Here's the authors of the study answer questions about their assumptions: http://www.urban.org/retirees/Estima...l-Security.cfm

This is the bottom line:

Quote:
Why is there such a big gap between taxes paid and benefits received?

I talk more about that in my recent Government You Deserve column. Setting Social Security aside for the moment, Medicare is facing a serious financing problem. You can perform these estimates a lot of different ways and still come to the same basic conclusion: Medicare taxes are far from enough to cover Medicare benefits. In fact, Medicare taxes support only slightly more than half the total cost of benefits. The amount pulled in from Medicare taxes has never been adequate, and the system is scheduled to rely increasingly on funding from general revenues.
So yes, while it may be an inconvenient truth, Medicare is welfare. The benefits Medicare recipients take are not even close to paid for by their lifetime contributions, they are paid for by us taxpayers.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:58 PM   #63
HonestChieffan HonestChieffan is offline
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Originally Posted by FD View Post
Its not that complicated. Here's the authors of the study answer questions about their assumptions: http://www.urban.org/retirees/Estima...l-Security.cfm

This is the bottom line:



So yes, while it may be an inconvenient truth, Medicare is welfare. The benefits Medicare recipients take are not even close to paid for by their lifetime contributions, they are paid for by us taxpayers.

So people on medicare are not taxpayers. OK.
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:39 AM   #64
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They should raise it to age 80.
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:37 AM   #65
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So people on medicare are not taxpayers. OK.
People on welfare pay taxes, too.
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Old 12-13-2012, 02:32 PM   #66
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They're coming for it, friend. They're convinced they've got better ideas about how that money should be spent.
Yeah, the timing really sucks for some of us that have had a plan in place for a long time.


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Sorry if it wasn't clear. Individuals who turned 65 in 2010 will on average receive 3-4 times more in Medicare benefits than they ever paid in.

These programs are completely unsustainable at the current level of generous benefits and spending needs to be cut, whether you like it or not.
You didn't specify Medicare before, or I misunderstood your post, because when it comes to SS, the previous generations reaped more than they sewed. But we boomers will get less on average than we paid in. Baby boomers getting ****ed again

The real problem with Medicare IMO, is what the Drs. and Hospitals are charging, plus the average longer life span. When I graduated HS, it was 71 for a man.

The Drs. and Hospitals are raping the system, both private and Medicare. They charged me $5,000.00 for a nuclear stress last month, and also 5k for some dehydration tests in June.

By my calculations, I have paid into Medicare $217,000.00. Even if the plan were left alone, I doubt I would ever see close to that amount of service. I would call it a mandentory Government Insurance program, not ****ing welfare!
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Last edited by HemiEd; 12-13-2012 at 02:41 PM..
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Old 12-13-2012, 02:37 PM   #67
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They should raise it to age 80.
die in a fire
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